Me and a couple buddies were able to get a reservation at a SWA that should have been pretty good for yesterday's goose opener. Well that sure was not the case. We did not have a bird fly within 200 yards of us. It was pretty bad.
What is a SWA? Sorry to hear you were unsuccessful. Any idea why? Did the weather affect the hunt or do you think something else kept the birds away? Did you use decoys and call? If this is a dumb question then I apologize in advance, just don't know that much about waterfowl hunting.
Sorry to hear that. That's the only way we can actually duck hunt down here within 2 1/2 hours drive, is to do it by reservation, at city owned lakes or wildlife management areas. They have drawings for the spots, and lately it has gotten out of hand for the $$$$$$. I have had days where I shot a limit, but the next week, won't even see a bird.
Some of the SWAs that require reservations are excellent habitat and well managed for quality ducks and goose hunting. But you must keep in mind that those birds are migratory birds, so it's always going to be hit and miss. I've been in some great areas before from before sunrise to sunset and never saw a single duck or goose all day, only coots. That's the way hunting goes. There have been time where I could not even see a flock of waterfowl flying way off in the distance to follow, nothing at all. But then there are times when you'll hit the jack pot
Don't get discouraged. That's hunting. The trick is you typically have to go where the birds want to be. Not where you want to be. Go out to an area at both sunrise, afternoon, and sunset and park, bring maps, binos, or spotting scope, and a wristwatch. Look to see where and what time the birds are coming out of and going into an area. When you spot a pattern return to the area the next day and see if the same thing happens. Once you have the times down get to the area and get set up at least 30 minutes before the birds come in. Another key factor is once you get set up stay hidden or as concealed as you can. Waterfowl will spot you three miles away if they see you or your buddies standing out in the open at waters edge.
I was out scouting a few areas around some SWAs Saturday late afternoon until after sunset. I found an area and walked in almost a mile. Spotted one group of guys at a small pond near the far opposite end of the area I walked in from. They were standing out in the open at waters edge as I watched and heard flocks of geese flying around out on the horizon. I observed this group of hunters with my binos from about 500 yards away while hunkered down in some tall grass. They just didn't have a clue, they were too exposed, yet there was plenty of cover available to them. I watched as flocks of Canadas flew high over the pond out of shotgun range a few times. I was hoping their presence would scare those birds over to where I was. Gotta stay concealed when waterfowl hunting.
Understanding wind currents and thermals in hilly, broken terrain can often be incredibly frustrating. I've found that collecting and storing milkweed seed pods during the late summer has made me a better hunter in the bluff country that I hunt. These little feather like seed dispersers will float on the lightest of air currents and will show you what the wind is not only doing right at you're location but more importantly down range. I like to use the off season to float them...